Warner Todd Huston
April 1, 2011
Wisconsin union's boycott likely illegal
By Warner Todd Huston

Government union members of AFSCME Council 24 are circulating letters to local businesses in southeast Wisconsin threatening them that if they don't come to immediate and vocal support of government unions the businesses will be targeted for attack.

The union says it won't be satisfied with statements of neutrality, either. An AFSCME spokesman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that only full-throated support would keep the union from attacking businesses.

The union told businesses that if they didn't put a sign in their store windows proclaiming their support of government unions, then the union would target the business. "Failure to do so will leave us no choice but (to) do a public boycott of your business. And sorry, neutral means 'no' to those who work for the largest employer in the area and are union members," the union said in its letter.

As Brett Jacobson quips, "Translation: That's a nice business you got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it."

But all this sounds suspiciously like a violation of Wisconsin State law:

    943.30 Threats to injure or accuse of crime. (1) Whoever, either verbally or by any written or printed communication, maliciously threatens to accuse or accuses another of any crime or offense, or threatens or commits any injury to the person, property, business, profession, calling or trade, or the profits and income of any business, profession, calling or trade of another, with intent thereby to extort money or any pecuniary advantage whatever, or with intent to compel the person so threatened to do any act against the person's will or omit to do any lawful act, is guilty of a Class H felony.

    943.31 Threats to communicate derogatory information. Whoever threatens to communicate to anyone information, whether true or false, which would injure the reputation of the threatened person or another unless the threatened person transfers property to a person known not to be entitled to it is guilty of a Class I felony.

    History: 1977 c. 173; 2001 a. 109.

    A threat to injure a manager's reputation unless a job is offered violated this section. State v. Gilkes, 118 Wis. 2d 149, 345 N.W.2d 531 (Ct. App. 1984).

    History: 1977 c. 173; 2001 a. 109.

Or this statute:

    134.01 Injury to business; restraint of will. Any 2 or more persons who shall combine, associate, agree, mutually undertake or concert together for the purpose of willfully or maliciously injuring another in his or her reputation, trade, business or profession by any means whatever, or for the purpose of maliciously compelling another to do or perform any act against his or her will, or preventing or hindering another from doing or performing any lawful act shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not more than one year or by fine not exceeding $500.

(H/T Da Tech Guy)

© Warner Todd Huston


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